Since I left parish ministry almost two years ago, the oddest question I have been asked is, "What do you preach about now that you have left the church?" The people who ask tend to be deeply involved in their communities of faith. Many are clergy or denominational officers, while others supply the volunteer hours upon which any community depends.
I just want my child to be happy." Parents say this so often that it has become an accepted explanation for why a child is doing something other than what the parents would have hoped. And, in one sense, it seems straightforward, particularly when we consider the alternative. Do we want our children to be unhappy? Depressed? Discouraged?
Why shouldn't parents be treated as badly as smokers?" asked the writer rhetorically. After all, "children, just like cigarettes or mobile phones, clearly impose a negative externality on people who are near them." Recent events at Columbine High reminded me again of these comments, which appeared in an editorial in the Economist.
As best I can tell, most Christians follow eight commandments, not ten. The second commandment was dispatched at the Council of Nicea in 787, when the church decided graven images were OK. If it had pleased God to become incarnate in a person, the church reasoned, then it should not displease God for us to have images of that person.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).